Thursday, November 8, 2018

Golden Legend: The Dedication of a Church

My impression is that the most neglected feast in our parishes is that of the Dedication of our churches. Could  it be because so many modern churches look like banks or secular buildings of some sort and lack the power to cause us to celebrate? However, the Church, lest the we forget our own feast of dedication, causes us to celebrate as a feast the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica, Mater et Caput, ‘the Mother and Head of all the Churches of the world”. So that Medieval best-seller, The Golden Legend by the Dominican Jacobus de Voragine, explains:

The dedication of the church is solemnly hallowed among the other feasts of the church, and because that it is double church or temple, that is to wit, material and spiritual. And therefore it is to be seen shortly of the dedication of this double temple. As to the dedication of the temple material. three things be to be considered. First, wherefore it is hallowed or dedicate. Secondly, how it is hallowed. Thirdly, by whom it is hallowed. And because that two things be in the church that be hallowed, that is the altar and the temple, therefore it is first to be seen how the altar is hallowed. The altar is first hallowed for three things. First, to make sacrifice to God, as it is said, Genesis viii.: Noah edified first an altar to our Lord, and took of all the birds and of all the beasts of the the thought, and the song of the voice to the preaching of the word of God: but in this, what profiteth the sweetness of the voice without the sweetness of the heart? She breaketh the voice, but the will keepeth the concordance of the voice, and of good manners, so that by ensample he accord him to his neighbour, and by his good will he accord him to God, and by obedience to his master; and this is the treble manner of music, which is reported to the treble difference of the office of the church. For the office of the church is made in psalms, in lessons, and in song. The first manner of music is made by touching of fingers, as in the psaltery and semblable instruments: the second is the song as of the voice; and that appertaineth to the lessons. And thereof saith the Psalmist Sing ye to him in deporting your voice. The third, that is by blowing, appertaineth to the song of a trumpet and hereof saith David: Praise ye him in the sound of the trumpet.

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